It's over. You're through (unless you've decided for reasons of your own to keep going with your fake journal). You can step back, away from your character, and take a look at what you created.
I suggest that you do that in the next week or so. Give yourself some time off not looking at your fake journal. (I know it's so wonderful to have completed it it's a bit difficult to put it down, but "walk away" as they say in the cooking competition shows.)
When you do come back to your fake journal, spend a few minutes just flipping through the pages and getting an impression of the whole. Then allow yourself to think about what efforts you made to create it. How did you arrange for time in your day? How were you able to keep on track? If you went off track and had a couple days off why? And if you had a couple days off how did you get back to it? (It's perfectly fine not to journal every day of IFJM—some past participants have only journaled once a week!)
Look at your results based on your original goals. Did you make a list of those goals when you started? If so, get that list out now and compare what you accomplished with that list of goals.
Did your goals change during IFJM? Perhaps you had life coming at you from all directions and the time you set aside for IFJM evaporated down to 12 minutes or less a day??? How did you cope with that reality?
Part of IFJM is finding out your own real patterns and responses to journaling in your life. If you can keep up a healthy practice while being someone else what can you bring from that experience into your actual life to improve your daily journaling practice?
At its best IFJM gets the participant to look at part of his or her life he or she might not look at closely enough during the rest of the year. We are forced to look at time constraints we self-impose, or take for granted and let others impose on our lives. We allow ourselves to look at wishes, dreams, mindsets, attitudes, characteristics, and reality from a different perspective.
It's time to look at what you want for your creative life, all year round. This weekend or on an evening later this week, I suggest you take time with your fake journal and look into this question of what you want for your creative life.
Today, enjoy the completion of your project. You did it. Don't beat yourself up if it wasn't exactly what you had hoped. If we had unlimited time and resources of course things would be different. But accomplishing what you can in the time available is just one way to keep your creative engine running smoothly. It's a tune up.
It's also about living in the present moment—which is what journaling is about and why fake journaling is done in the present moment and not in one great gulp like a work of fiction.
I've been on a scanning delay, so over the next several days you'll continue to see the final 9 pages of my journal posted here. I'll post about the contest drawing after that.
Also, if you would like to do a write up about your experience participating in IFJM (sharing answers to some of the questions posed earlier in this post) and discuss how fake journaling might impact your future journaling, please let me know. If you write your assessment before May 12 and post it on your blog and send me a link I'll include a link to your write up in a wrap up post here. If you aren't going to post it on your blog but still want to share it you can send it to me and I'll post it here (pieces may be edited for length). If you have only one or two thoughts you'd like to share you can of course just add them in a comment to this post. Whatever works for you.
Thank you to everyone who participated in IFJM 2012.
To those who shared their entries publicly (on the participants link list in the right-hand column of this blog), thank you for taking up the challenge and pushing yourselves.
To those who have participated privately, but have written to provide me with updates and share your thoughts, thank you also for taking a step outside your comfort zone all to discover more about yourself.
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